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hippopotamus

[hip-uh-pot-uh-muh s] /ˌhɪp əˈpɒt ə məs/
noun, plural hippopotamuses, hippopotami
[hip-uh-pot-uh-mahy] /ˌhɪp əˈpɒt əˌmaɪ/ (Show IPA)
1.
a large herbivorous mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, having a thick hairless body, short legs, and a large head and muzzle, found in and near the rivers, lakes, etc., of Africa, and able to remain under water for a considerable time.
Origin of hippopotamus
1555-1565
1555-65; < Latin < Greek hippopótamos, earlier híppos potámios literally, riverine horse (term used by Herodotus in his account of the Egyptian hippopotamus); compare Middle English ypotame, ypotamos, ypotanus < Old French ypotame < Medieval Latin ypotamus
Related forms
hippopotamic
[hip-uh-puh-tam-ik] /ˌhɪp ə pəˈtæm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
hippopotamian
[hip-uh-puh-tey-mee-uh n] /ˌhɪp ə pəˈteɪ mi ən/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hippopotamus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some crocodile or hippopotamus crawling through the rushes might craunch the babe.

    The Wedding Ring T. De Witt Talmage
  • Just think of the hippopotamus, the horse or "hippos" that lives in the rivers.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • It is all right for a giraffe to be sentimental, but not a hippopotamus.

    Cobb's Anatomy Irvin S. Cobb
  • It was as if a dweller in a Harlem flat had been presented with a hippopotamus.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I know our swamp as a hippopotamus might, or—to stick to plain Yankee creatures—a mud turtle.

    The Jonathan Papers Elisabeth Woodbridge Morris
  • You have never tried to demonstrate to a hypnotic that a table is not a hippopotamus.

    The Book of the Damned Charles Fort
  • In hippopotamus the skull though essentially like that of the pig is much modified in detail.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton Sidney H. Reynolds
  • It was voted by acclamation, that hippopotamus was agreeable to the company.

  • Their prey is soon secured, for the well-aimed harpoon has done its work, and the hippopotamus is soon forced to succumb.

British Dictionary definitions for hippopotamus

hippopotamus

/ˌhɪpəˈpɒtəməs/
noun (pl) -muses, -mi (-ˌmaɪ)
1.
a very large massive gregarious artiodactyl mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, living in or around the rivers of tropical Africa: family Hippopotamidae. It has short legs and a thick skin sparsely covered with hair
2.
pigmy hippopotamus, a related but smaller animal, Choeropsis liberiensis
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from Greek hippopotamos river horse, from hippos horse + potamos river
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hippopotamus
n.

1560s, from Late Latin hippopotamus, from Greek hippopotamus "riverhorse" (earlier ho hippos ho potamios "the horse of the river"), from hippos "horse" (see equine) + potamos "river, rushing water" (see potamo-). Replaced Middle English ypotame (c.1300), which is from the same source but via Old French. Glossed in Old English as sæhengest.

Ypotamos comen flyngynge. ... Grete bestes and griselich ["Kyng Alisaunder," c.1300]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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